The litigation against Bayer in relation to Roundup weedkiller will continue into the new year, with a Philadelphia jury awarding $3.5 million to a woman who alleged that the product caused her to develop cancer. The verdict amount is smaller in comparison to Bayer’s previous trial losses, including a $1.56 billion verdict from November 2023. But it does indicate that these legal challenges will continue into 2024.
Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018, which included Roundup. This exposed the company to hundreds of thousands of claims alleging personal injuries. Bayer has set aside about $6.5 billion set aside for litigation, attacking award amounts and asserting the safety of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate.
Weight Loss Lawsuit
One of the newest claims moving into the new year centers on the trending weight loss drugs Ozempic and Mounjaro. Filed in Louisiana in August of 2023, the lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff developed gastroparesis, a severe disorder affecting the movement of food from the stomach to the small intestine, after taking the drugs.
Ozempic is a prescription medication used for weight loss and diabetes. Its manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, is one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Eli Lily is the manufacturer of Mounjaro, which is also a prescription medication.
These lawsuits are currently in their early stages. Summonses have been issued to the defendants and hundreds of additional client inquiries are being investigated. While these are not class-action lawsuits at this time, with no motion to consolidate, the growing popularity and usage of these and similar wight loss drugs may change that status in 2024.
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Tylenol Autism Lawsuit
Tylenol autism mass tort lawsuits will continue in 2024, with claims focusing on both the sellers and the makers of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in the medication. These lawsuits allege that taking the medication during pregnancy may lead to developmental disorders like autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
New scientific research added to an increase in these lawsuits in mid-2022. A group of plaintiffs filed to consolidate the cases into a multidistrict litigation in the Southern District of New York, asserting that the lawsuits involve similar claims or injuries. This type of multidistrict strategy can save mass tort law firms and claimants time, money, and resources while promoting consistent outcomes.
A class action lawsuit has been certified against Tylenol, and it has the potential to result in the largest payout in U.S. mass tort class action history. Verdicts have overwhelmingly been in favor of plaintiffs and many claims are expected to settle in 2024. Tylenol is also expected to add a new warning label to the product.
Social Media Lawsuits
Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against social media giants by parents alleging that these companies willfully failed to warn about the known harmful effects of their products on teens and children. Plaintiffs claim that social media platforms engineer algorithms that promote behaviors linked to mental health disorders.
These lawsuits accuse social media companies of placing profits over the safety of their youngest users. Claims include allegations that parental controls are defective, which enables young children to spend more time on these platforms than supposedly allowed, while also allowing them access to age inappropriate content.
Recently, several school districts have begun filing lawsuits against social media companies like Meta, Snap, Google, and the parent company of TikTok. It started when a school district in Seattle made a public nuisance claim against the companies, asserting that large numbers of children and teens were requiring mental health services related to their social media addictions. The school district is seeking compensation for damages as well as improved regulation of social media for children and teens. At least nine other districts have also filed lawsuits, suggesting that these cases will continue, and possibly grow, in the year ahead.
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Firefighting Foam Lawsuits
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturers of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), a fire suppression product used in firefighting. The substance contains Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals, also known as forever chemicals, because they do not break down over time, instead remaining present inside human blood indefinitely. These chemicals have also been classified as a known carcinogen.
The lawsuits initiated a couple of years ago when firefighters began speaking up about health complications allegedly related to prolonged exposure to AFFF. More than 3,000 plaintiffs had joined in a Multi-District Litigation against the company as of June 2023. The number of cases has consistently increased and will likely continue to do so as litigation progresses in 2024.
The lawsuits have also expanded to include manufacturers of the firefighting foam that contains PFAS. Companies like 3M and DuPont are facing allegations that they sold AFFF products despite knowing the health risks.
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